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MESSAGE (standard:mystery, 3617 words)
Author: ArunodayAdded: Oct 21 2004Views/Reads: 3654/2527Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
A story of mysterious 'SMS'es

Click here to read the first 75 lines of the story

Frank was gone!!Arun was speechless and could hardly believe what he
just read on the computer.It seemed so unbelievable,he had met Frank in 
the morning and now within a few hours he was reading this. 

Days went by,but Arun could not get over this incident. As for Caroll,it
was like getting punished for a crime which she had not committed.She 
was depressed beyond anyone's imagination.Life seemed to have have 
stopped for her. 

Today after almost one month of Frank's death,Arun was out for a ride on
his bike and he noticed somebody!!!! .Sumantai Joshi. “Arey Kaku how 
are you ? It's almost after a year that we are meeting.How is Chivda?” 
“Arey you don't know or what ? He is the U.S. for the past one 
year”---Sumantai Joshi. 

That night Arun could not sleep,his mind was going through all that
happened a month ago.He was replaying that incident again and again in 
his mind.And suddenly his face went pale!!!!!!!If Chivda was in the 
U.S. how could he message me from a local number? What happened to 
Frank could have happened to me also. It was my luck that I did not 
board the train,but I did get a message preventing me from boarding the 
train. If it was not Chivda then WHO WAS IT????????? 

Arun thought over again and again,but was totally clueless.That phone
number was unknown to him,nor did he try to find out whose number it 
could have been.More-ever cellular phone technology was not that 
advanced,that one could message another using a landline phone. It took 
him days,but he forgot that incidence,thinking it to be a coincidence. 

Life had normalized a bit after Freddy's death.Arun was almost over it
by now.Today was an important day,for everybody at Arun's office.Today 
was the marriage of Hetal Desai,the only daughter of Mr.Maganlal Desai, 
Arun's boss. Mr.Desai loved his daughter very much, so much so that he 
did not oppose ( ? ) her marrying somebody who was younger than her by 
3 years. This guy who was still completing his graduation fell in love 
with Hetal at a management class where they both were students. He did 
not have a job.His father had retired and he had a younger sister who 
was still a college student. 

Even if it made no difference to him Arun wondered,what Hetal must have
seen in that guy,who according to Arun was a total loser in life. He 
might hit big time in future, but then at the moment Arun felt he was 
not the right person for Hetal. There were doctors and engineers lined 
up for Hetal,who was a tall girl with a dusky complexion ( not much of 
a gujarati though ),but carried herself with elegance, pure elegance. 
She could have had anybody for her, but what women want is a big 
mystery and it will always be. 

The marriage was grand. It had to be. The rumour doing the round was
that it was almost a KHOKHA ( a crore rupees ) which Mr. Desai had 
spent. “ Peanuts!! is what he pays us”, thought Arun. The food was 
traditional Gujarati and Maharashtrian ( the groom was Maharashtrian. 
).It was delicious. After the main course, came the sweets. All sorts 
of sweets. Rasagullas, Jilebis , Halwas, so on and so forth. You name 
the sweet and you have it, but the hit that day was the basundi!!. 

Basundi was something Arun was fond of. He could have second and third
helpings of basundi , even on a full tummy. He simply could not resist 
it. But that day it seems luck had it otherwise. By the time he reached 
the counter of Basundi, the last bowl was left. He thought he was lucky 
enough to get that atleast. 

Arun lifted the bowl. He was going to have the first sip,
then.......BEEP! BEEP!!  BEEP! BEEP!!,a message!! . Juggling the 
Basundi bowl in the left hand, Arun carefully removed his phone. “ 
DON'T  HAVE  THE  BASUNDI ”, read the message. Arun scrolled for the 
number. 263819012!!! . Arun was furious with the person who had sent 
it. He chose to ignore that. No power in the world was going to stop 
Arun from eating his favourite dish. Just as he was bringing the spoon 
near to his lips, he was almost rendered of balance by the fat Mrs. 
Chadhdha . She was desperately searching her son ( read “ devil” 
according to Arun ) Balwinder, fondly called as Bobo. She found him 
finally, hiding below the table where Basundi was kept, but in that 
attempt she had done something which she was not supposed to!!. The 
heavy push by Mrs. Chadhdha had toppled Arun's bowl of Basundi and had 
almost instantaneously upset his mood too. “ I wish this devil falls 
sick” was what Arun said when Bobo was caught below the table eating 

Arun's dream of eating a big vessel full of Basundi was broken by a
phone call of Joanne. The “BABE” in his office, for most,but not for 
him. Arun answered the call with anger evident in his voice. “ Arun, 
how are you this morning? ,Are you fine ? Do you have any idea what 
happened last night ?”. Joanne had fired questions at Arun. Her voice 
was clearly worried. “ I am fine. Whats gonna happen to me? Came home 
late last night and slept. Why what happened ? Why are you sounding so 
scared?”. What Arun heard thereafter was shocking, simply shocking. 

There was a mishap at the party last night. People who had sweets had
reported sick, immediately after they got home. Most of them were 
admitted at private nursing homes with complaints of vomiting within 
hours of having the food. It was a clear case of food poisoning. A few 
people were reported to be critical, and were in the Intensive Care 
Unit of a local hospital, run by Dr. Raval. And to Arun's horror, it 
was Bobo who was fighting for his life in the I.C.U. Arun felt guilty 
for thinking ,for what he thought the night before.He now prayed 
desperately, for Bobo's life. 

Investigation was ordered in the food poisoning incident. All this while
Arun kept wondering of one thing. It was him who also had consumed the 
same food. Then why was he so lucky ? The investigation report was out. 
It turned out that the food was fine and so were the sweets, but the 
Basundi. Yes!! Basundi it was!! Arun replayed all the happenings in his 
mind which took place that fateful night. Basundi becoming a hit with 
the crowd, Arun getting the last bowl, the accidental push and toppling 
off of Arun's bowl, Bobo getting caught.................. Things seemed 
to be falling in place and the jigsaw puzzle was almost solved, but for 
one piece.......................THE  MESSAGE!!!!!!!!! 

Arun remembered vividly about the message. His ignoring it and going on
with eating the Basundi. Had it not been the small push from Mrs. 
Chadhdha, he could have met with the same fate as that of the others. 
It can't be coincidence again, thought Arun. There was somebody who was 
trying to help him, save him rather, from a possible DEATH!!!! But who 
was it ? 

Arun was a new age guy. He was not particularly god fearing, nor totally
against praying as well ( take for instance Bobo's incidence ). But 
this was something different. He did not believe in miracles and the 
supernatural. Somebody helping him,saving his life and in the manner in 
which it was done, was purely fictional. Arun was becoming restless day 
by day. He had to figure it out, that who was being so grateful to him. 
He somehow did not know how and where to start. He went through the 
message ‘n' number of times and then the idea struck him. 

The phone number could be traced to the owner. How stupid of him that he
could not think of this earlier. Arun was a total computer geek. He 
frequented the cyber café for his mails most of the time and for 
watching the ‘other' stuff even more frequently ( come on we all are 
humans!!!) .But today was different. He was at the café for a reason. 
He opened the telephone company's site and entered the number 
263819012, in the blank space which offered addresses for the numbers 
entered. Major Bhaskarrao  Khandoba  Bhosale ( retd.) , 
“SANDHYA—CHHAYA” Dahanukar Wadi, Kandivali, Mumbai. 

It was Sunday and Arun was standing outside “SANDHYA—CHHAYA” the
bungalow of Major Bhosale. It was a rare sight to see bungalows in a 
crowded place like Mumbai. That too Kandivali was a fast growing suburb 
so every piece of land was highly priced. The main gate was locked. A 
board lay hanging there, “ DANGEROUS BUILDING. TO  BE  EVACUATED  
IMMEDIATELY. By  order.” 

“Who are you looking for Mr.?” , an old voice broke Arun's trance.It was
Dinkar Anna,the care taker of the bungalow. About 5 feet 2 inches 
tall,65 yr “Anna” as he was fondly and rather respectfully called had a 
story of his own.Wife Sunanda had died of tuberculosis 2 years ago and 
his only son was a drunkyard with no job.To add fuel in the fire,his 
daughter-in- law Alka wanted the old man to DIE .The reason? Well in a 
100 sqft shanty how many people can you expect to live happily? That 
too in a place like Mumbai ,there is nothing like love or relations.The 
only thing which rules is a FIGHT. A fight for supremacy,a fight for 

“Major  Bhosale  ikadech  rahtaat  naa?”    (Arun asked Anna in
Marathi,which was his mother tongue,that ‘Does Major Bhosale live 
there?') “Naahi”  (No) was the reply from Anna. “Then who stays 
here?”---Arun. “Nobody”----Anna. How can that be possible? Thought 
Arun.If nobody lives here then how come I got a message from a number 
registered on this address. “Are you sure nobody stays here?”----Arun. 
“ Hoy  Saaheb, I am serving the Bhosale's for 20 years now. This 
bungalow is closed for the last one year ,nobody lives here 
anymore.”---Anna.”  “Very fine then,where have they shifted?”----Arun. 
On this question,suddenly Anna's old,tired eyes welled up,his wrinkled 
face became sad all of a sudden. Arun realized  that he should not have 
asked that question. “Last year Major Bhosale and his only daughter 
Shamita,had been to the United States. Shamita had got admission in 
M.Tech at the Harvards.They were so happy then. But nature had 
something else in her mind. Their return flight to India met with an 
accident.”  Suddenly Arun remembered the news he had read last year, 
about the crash of an Air-India plane in the Arabian Sea. All the 
passengers and crew had died.Most bodies were recovered ,but some went 
missing in the sea. 

“That is bad,but then what about the bodies?”---Arun. “Major Saheb was
found by the coast guards but baby was not found”---Anna. “I know one 
thing that God can not be so harsh to that young motherless child ( 
Shamita's mother had died soon after giving her birth and Major Bhosale 
had not remarried). She is still alive some-where and one day she will 
come home”----Anna could now barely see Arun as he was weeping by now. 
“One more thing I will tell you, she was a college champion in 
swimming,when she was in Bandodkar. How on earth can she drown? Tell 

Arun was speechless. He had come here to find who was the unknown
messager and here another story had unfolded. “So who lives here now?, 
any relatives of the Bhosales?”--- Arun . “No, nobody lives here 
anymore. This was as it is a government bungalow. I have heard that 
this land and bungalow has been sold to Maganlal Chajjed,famous builder 
for development.It is time before it will be razed.”--- Anna said this 
and went.He did not even bother to ask Arun why he had come there. 

That night,on bed Arun was going through all which the old man had told
him earlier in the day. He was going through all details again and 
again and trying to figure out how he could be connected to this. 
That's when something struck him like a lightening. “Swimmimg Champion” 
in Bandodkar College. Shamita.................. 

Yes it had to be her!! What a coincidence!!! Arun remembered vividly
about Roll no 7----- Bhosale Shamita Bhaskarrao. The champ of the 
college and Arun's headache!!!!!!! 

The year was 1997. Arun was in college then. He was never a ‘hunk' kind
of a guy. 5 feet 6 tall, paunchy Arun was still a darling of the class 
all because of his intelligence. But girls used to die for that one 
cute smile of his. It all started on the day of “Makar  Sankraant”  
when Shamita approached Arun. “I have made “Tiil  Gool”  for you ( Tiil 
 Gool  is a sweet which Maharashtrians make on the day of Makar 
Sankraant)” . Arun stood there as a stupid person, knowing not what to 
say. “Have it”--- Shamita. 

Arun knew for sure that if he had not taken that Tiil Gool from her that
day,she would have bursted into tears. He took it and for the remaining 
years in college,he wondered why on earth did he TAKE IT ?,for after 
that day,Shamita would come to talk to Arun for apparently trivial 
reasons.It was evident from her behaviour that she was in love with 
him.Though words were never spoken, that silence of Shamita spoke a 
million words,which Arun had very well understood,but he always showed 
as if he was totally unaware of this. That year was the most important 
year of his college life and getting involved would have meant,an 
injustice done to his career. More-ever Arun felt that he was too young 
for all those things then. 

Years in college went by as if some minutes had gone by. The farewell
day arrived. All were wishing each other good luck and a prosperous 
future. Many were crying, many were on the verge of. Even Shamita was 
crying when she spoke with Arun. Arun knew looking at her that those 
tears of her were not because they were separating but because she 
could never tell him how much she loved him and more so that Arun never 
realized that. Atleast she felt so, but the truth was otherwise. 

Arun was thinking about Shamita all that night. We all go to college
,make new friends ( a few enemies as well ) play together, laugh and 
cry.Fight and patch up and do what not,but then once we leave those 
confines of our class,do we really meet those friends or for that 
matter those enemies, thought Arun. 

For many days thereafter Arun tried to establish some link between those
messages on his cell phone and the number from where they were coming. 
Nothing seem to make sense. First and foremost,the messages were coming 
from a landline. The technology was not so advanced that SMSes could be 
send from  government landline phones to private cell phones,atleast 
not in that part of the world where Arun lived.Secondly the place where 
the phone was registered was, un-inhabited for quite a period now. 
Finally the most puzzling thing was that the only person Arun knew in 
that house was missing ( Arun disliked the word ‘dead' because 
Shamita's body was never found ). 

All these questions had no answers atleast not that Arun could have
found. But one thing was for sure, that not once, twice or thrice but 
on numerous occasions the messages kept on coming and in a way saved 
Arun time and again from possible dangerous life threatening situations 
or shall we say POSSIBLE DEATH. Arun was also very much aware of this 
fact,but his new age ‘scientific brain' was not ready to accept this. 
However somewhere deep down inside,when-ever he was alone a thought 
would cross his mind, “ Could it be Shamita ?” “Could it be her 
un-expressed love?” “But how on earth was this possible,Shamita was 
..............?” thought Arun. 

Today was yet another day, like the day before. Arun was the usual mess.
Hurrying for his routine local, his regular one ‘9.05 Mumbai fast'. 
Barely had an hour past after Arun left ,the door-bell rang. Mr. Patil 
the landlord opened the door. The police were standing at the door. “ 
Arun  Pophale  ikadech  rahatat  kaa ?” ( Does Mr. Arun Pophale stay 
here?) police inspector Sawant asked.  “Ho, kaa  kaay  jhala ?” ( Yes, 
why what happened) replied Mr. Patil. What followed thereafter was 
nothing short of a  catastrophe for Mr. Patil, for whom Arun was no 
less than his own son. 

The local in which Arun was traveling had, had a head-on collision with
another local. It was a signal failure, so said the railway officials. 
35 died on spot,many were injured. 5 were critical and Arun was one 
amongst those 5!!!!!! 

Arun had suffered multiple fractures, a head trauma had rendered him
stupurous. He was in the Intensive Care Unit ( I.C.U.) when Mr. Patil 
saw him. A fresh pint of A+ve blood was started for Arun. The 
intensivists were trying their level best to save Arun's life. His 
blood pressure was falling inspite of 3 pints of blood. He had lost a 
lot of blood. Mr. Patil could not stand that sight.The next 24 hours 
were critical for Arun. 

“Kaka, kaka” ( Uncle,uncle)...Arun. Mr. Patil rushed near his bed .”
Kaay  jhaala  Arun?”  ( What happened Arun ?)....Mr. Patil. “Maajha 
phone  baghaa,konaacha  message  aalay kaa to baghaa?” ( See my phone, 
see whether any message has come ) These were the last words of Arun 
before he slipped into coma. Mr. Patil did not follow why Arun had 
asked him to see for any message. He got the phone from Inspector 
Sawant,who had Arun's other belongings as well. Mr.Patil went to the 
INBOX folder and found NO NEW MESSAGES there. 

Major Bhosale's bungalow was demolished that same day at 9.35


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